This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book looks at the impact of printing in disseminating spiritual knowledge among theologically uneducated people in Spain between 1500 and 1554, and analyses Teresa's self-interpretation in the context of reading practices related to moral exegesis. It examines the three most controversial ideas promoted by the spiritual books Teresa read and connects them to evidence of Teresa's practice of recogimiento as taught in Osuna's Tercer abecedario. The book establishes hitherto undiscovered links between the development of Teresa's autobiographical writing and the evolution of her approach to confession. It looks at Teresa's self-validation in Vida through explicit and tacit references to authoritative textual representations of the self: saints' lives and Augustine's Confessions.